ONE of the region’s MPs has blasted a train company after passengers were left stranded on the platform due to overcrowding.

Easington MP Grahame Morris has called the Durham Coastline Northern rail service ‘the worst train service in the UK’ after more weekend transport chaos.

Mr Morris hit out after overcrowding left passengers stranded on the platform at Seaham.

He said: “It is a second-rate rail service failing in its most fundamental function.

“The public has lost faith, and the responses I have received from the Government shows a clear indifference to the problems.

“Looking at people crammed into two carriages, standing on top of each other, it is easy to forget that we are living with a deadly pandemic taking more than 100 lives a day.

“As we have seen across the whole economy, the Government has failed to prepare and invest, and the public pays the price.

“In the current petrol crisis, switching to public transport for many people in East Durham is not an option because of our second-rate overcrowded trains.”

Mr Morris said it was a ‘national scandal’ that there is not enough carriages for the train line to fulfil its purpose of transporting people.

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He said: “Our infrastructure is completely sub-standard with 1980s British Rail Pacer trains being replaced by 1980s refurbished British Rail Sprinter trains.

“It is a double insult to have sub-standard rolling stock that cannot accommodate the number of passengers who want to use the service.”

Mr Morris has called on the public to know their rights:

“There is no competition, accountability or responsibility on our rail network.

“People are voting with their feet by seeking more reliable methods of transport.

“Frustrated passengers often rip up tickets, but I encourage people to use their consumer rights and seek compensation.

“The Government should set a minimum compensation level as change will only come when it hits train operators bottom line.”

The Northern Echo has contacted the Department for Transport

A spokesperson for Northern, said: “We apologise to any customers who have experienced overcrowding or disruption to their journeys.

“The coronavirus pandemic continues to have a significant impact on many industries, including the rail network, and we are doing all we can to provide the best possible service for customers in extremely difficult circumstances.”

Mr Morris has now responded to the comments made by Northern, arguing the lack of carriages has nothing to do this the pandemic.

He said: “Any excuse will do for Northern Rail.

“Overcrowding and people left on the platform was happening long before Covid.

“For Northern to use Covid as an excuse is an insult to the community who must live with sub-standard rail services.

“The Government keep banging the drum for levelling up, but second-rate Northern Rail is indicative of the lack of investment and commitment to our region.

“The Government could utilise the expertise of domestic train manufacturers such as Vivarail in the Easington constituency, who will be showcasing their clean, emission-free battery trains at COP26.

“Investing in domestic train manufactures would benefit the East Durham economy, provide export opportunities, and deliver a clean, green and reliable service on the Durham Coastline.”

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